Wednesday, February 09, 2011

In the ballot XLI

Another batch of Member's Bills currently in the ballot. Previous batches are indexed here:

Environmental Reporting Bill (Chris Hipkins): A rewrite of Nick Smith's Environment (State of the Environment Reporting) Amendment Bill from a few years ago, this would require the new Environmental Protection Authority to report on the overall state of our environment (using a set of standardised environmental indicators) at least once every five years. It's a good idea, and Smith has promised to implement it now that he's Minister. Hipkins is hoping to beat him to it, or at least force him to keep that promise.

Habeus Corpus Amendment Bill (Chris Auchinvole): Not as threatening as it sounds, this bill implements the recommendations of the Law Commission's 2007 report [PDF] on further simplifying the process for Habeas Corpus. This should really be a government bill, but National has a conscious policy of advancing minor reforms such as this through the Member's Ballot to clog it up and reduce the chances of opposition bills being drawn.

Summary Proceedings (Warrant for Detention Conditions) Amendment Bill (Jonathan Young): Again not as threatening as it sounds, this amends the Summary Proceedings Act 1957 to allow the court to impose conditions when remanding a defendant in custody - for example ordering them not to contact or associate with certain persons. This can already be done if a defendant is bailed (e.g. to prevent them from interfering with witnesses or further harassing victims, or to protect the victims of domestic violence), but imprisonment was presumed to stop such contact. Its an odd little loophole, born of the era before prisoners had access to phones, and there doesn't seem to be any harm in plugging it. Again, this one should really be a government bill.

As usual, I'll have more bills as I acquire them.